All posts by reneeinnd


Husband is slow. Motorically slow. He always has been slow.  He really can’t do much of anything quickly, and it has been a source of frustration for him that I can do things quickly.  Really quickly.  When I did my psychology internship at a VA hospital in Iowa, we interns were administered  the same  battery of neuropsychological tests that we would eventually administer to the patients.  One of the tests was the Purdue Pegboard, which is a large board with holes for pegs, and you time people to see how fast they can put the pegs in the holes. It assesses bilateral motor speed and coordination. I had the fastest time ever for anyone who had taken the test at that clinic.

Last week, I got a notification from that recent analysis of my DNA revealed me to have the Sprinter gene, common in athletes, especially in successful short distance runners. I never was an athlete, but my dad was, and he was really speedy.  In high school he could zip around the basketball court so fast that he once caused the boy assigned to guard him to start crying during a game because he couldn’t keep up with him.  He did most things really fast, and I am pretty sure I inherited that gene from him.

What genetic advantage  do you think you inherited? Make up a gene you would like to have.


Cheap Like Borscht

I thought when I left Winnipeg for the last time in 1988 that I would  never live in another place so full of Ukrainians. There  are hordes of people of Ukrainian ancestry  in Manitoba, and they weave a fascinating influence into the tapestry of region. There are elementary schools in Winnipeg that have Ukrainian language  immersion classes. You can get Ukrainian food in lots of places.

Imagine my surprise when we moved to western  ND and found ourselves fifteen miles from Belfield,  a vibrant  Ukrainian enclave of immigrants and their descendants with a strong cultural identity and customs, including  a Cultural Institute,  Ukrainian churches, and a summer dance festival.  There are locally made perogies in all the grocery  stores here.

I was talking with a Belfield native last week, a foster mom and Licensed Addiction Counselor, who is married to a Ukrainian national who immigrated about ten years ago. She noticed my diploma  from the University of Manitoba,  and asked how expensive tuition must have been for me, since I was a foreign student.  I told her that tuition was “Cheap like Borscht”,  as there was no differential cost to out of Province students.  She was amazed about my description of tuition costs, since the only person she ever heard use  that phrase was her immigrant husband.

The foster mom found her husband in  Winnipeg at a Ukrainian dance  competition.  “Cheap like Borscht ” is a common phrase  in Winnipeg.   I assumed it was something everyone said, but apparently not.  I think it is a lovely phrase.

What are your favorite turns of phrase?  Got any good Borscht recipes?

Leaping Ahead

Happy Leap Day!  My cousin Duane was born on Leap Day. He got his picture in the Pipestone, MN newspaper when he was 4 because he finally had an actual birthday  to celebrate.

Starting in Ireland  centuries ago,  then spreading across Europe,  Leap Day was the day every four years when women could propose to men. In Scotland, the woman had to wear a red skirt when she proposed. There were penalties if the men refused. In some places, the man had to purchase twelve pairs of gloves for the woman. In Finland, he had to give her enough cloth to make a skirt. Currently  in France, La Bougie du Sapeur, a satirical magazine, only publishes on Leap Day.

I was fascinated to read that during 1930 and 1931, the Soviet  government added February 30th to the calendar and made all the other months have 30 days so that all the weeks of the year could have 5 days.  I don’t know why they dropped the plan.

How would like to see Leap Day celebrated? How would you change the calendar if you could?

Performance Evaluation For A Snow Plow Operator

Today I had my quarterly performance evaluation.  It went fine.  I want to improve my competence in writing treatment plans incorporating  language specific to Psychosocial Rehabilitation,  a new emphasis in our State Human Services Department. I continue  to work on it.

Our current Republican  governor thought it a great idea to have all  State employees evaluate themselves every three months and set quarterly goals. Well, that can probably work for me and many  other State employees.  I wonder,  though, how the snow plow operators set quarterly goals?  I suppose in the off season they are mowing ditches and filling pot holes. How do you quantify improvements on snow removal? What a nuisance for them, though!

What goals would you suggest snow plow operators strive toward?  Tell about your work evaluations.

Lift Thine Eyes To The Hills

There is a somewhat short butte four blocks east of my house. It is a city park. This outcropping of rocks, grass, and trees is as wide at the top as one football field, and as long as two football fields.  Poderosa pines cover the sides,  and is home to a large flock of vultures in the summer and fall. It is in the middle of a well established residential area . There are walking trails, a play ground,  and picnic areas on it.  It is an easy climb to get to.

The butte is fairly flat at the top, and on the western edge there is a water tower.  The water tower is shaped like a grain bin and is about three stories tall. It sits squat on the ground, and it is visible for blocks. It is visible from my house. I have seen it countless times over the past 30 years.  It has always been a blotchy, rusty,  silver color.

Imagine my surprise on Wednesday when I was driving past the park and I noticed that the water tower was now a delicate shade of baby pink. No one paints in the winter, so it must have been painted months ago, and I didn’t notice until now. I was shocked, not only that it was pink (what an odd color) but that it took me so long to notice something so close to me. It made me wonder what else I am not seeing.

What have you failed to see that was in plain sight? How are your powers of observation?

Simple Pleasures

Work and life in general have both been rather trying of late. The other day I was sitting in the living room, rather dazed, on a sunny Saturday  morning when I noticed the sun pouring into the dining room onto the leaded glass windows of our oak dining room buffet. It was a lovely, peaceful sight, and I told myself I had to start noticing and remembering things like that when I was stressed.

There are lots of things that are simple pleasures that can make all the difference in a person’s life.

What are the simple pleasures that keep you going?

Baboon Podcasts

Husband commented the other day that he thought the Baboons should make podcasts because we have so many  things to talk about and say to one another. It is an interesting idea. I don’t listen to podcasts. I probably would listen if I had a longer commute, but it takes me less than 5 minutes to get to work, and when I am at home I decompress by listening to music. I know that the topic has come up on the Trail before, and that  Baboons listen to them.

What podcasts do you listen to?  What sort of podcasts can you imagine Baboons creating?